2012 CFN First Look Rankings - The Bottom 24
Miami QB Zac Dysert
Miami QB Zac Dysert
Posted Jan 19, 2012

The first look at the rankings for the 2012 college football season. ... The Bottom 20.

CFN 2012 First Look Rankings

No. 101 to No. 124

2011 CFN First Look Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 20

2011 CFN Final Season Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 20

- CFN 2011 FINAL Rankings, Top  25

2012 CFN First Look Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 24

- Follow us on Twitter ... ColFootballNews

It might seem way too early, but considering the returning starters and the teams coming back, before Signing Day and spring ball, where does everyone stand? Here's CFN's first look at all the teams for 2012. The First Look Ranking is based on how good the teams appear to be at the moment.

124. Texas-San Antonio (4-6)

Led by former Miami head coach Larry Coker, the Roadrunners jump into FBS play with a decent-looking run defense and a terrific pass rush. However, the team that lost to McMurray and McNeese State while beating up on Minot State and Bacone will be a punching bag for a while. Ten starters return to a 4-2-5 defense that'll sell out to get into the backfield led by end Marlon Smith. The offense was really, really young last season, starting seven freshmen at times, but the payoff should come with only one starter – left guard Mike Sanchez – needing to be replaced.

123. Texas State (6-6)

The Bobcats and head coach Dennis Franchione were solid last season, but they got obliterated by Texas Tech and Wyoming in the two games against FBS teams. The offense revolves around the ground game, but three starters are gone off the line. The backfield is back including top rushers Terrence Franks and Marcus Curry, while mobile quarterback Shaun Rutherford should make TSU one of the WAC's top rushing teams. The defense only loses three starters, but two of them are linebackers Josh Minde and Bryan Iwuji.

122. Florida Atlantic (1-11)

The Owls have to find an offense right away under new head Carl Pelini, and it starts with getting more from QB Graham Wilbert. The O line gets three starters back and the top receivers return for a passing game that was the least efficient in America. Alfred Morris was the offense, and now the attack has to find a running back to work around. The defense should be better under the new coaching staff, and while end Kevin Cyrille is gone, ten starters return.

121. South Alabama (6-4)

The Jaguars enter the Sun Belt with a good-looking veteran team coming off a decent year. They battled well in a loss to NC State and lost to Kent State 33-25, but there weren't any good wins. This year, the 16th best defense in the FCS gets back ten starters in the 3-4 including the entire front seven. The offense needs to find some semblance of a passing game with C.J. Bennett back. Three starters are gone off the line, but the running attack should be terrific with Kendall Houston and Demetre Baker both big, promising backs. True sophomore J.J. Keals, Demetre Baker, and Tyrone Bivins will form one of the nation's best kickoff return trios.

120. Massachusetts (5-6)

After a painful second half collapse losing four of the final five games, UMass is starting over with Charley Molner taking over as the new head coach. The new MAC member loses top running back Jonathan Hernandez, and finding a steady starting quarterback is a must after Kellen Pagel struggled. Perry McIntyre is a good pass rushing linebacker to work around, but there's work to do up front and in a secondary that wasn't strong enough.

119. New Mexico (1-11)

Bob Davie has a ton of work to do trying to erase the disaster that was the Mike Locksley experience. Any improvement has to start with the lines that get three starters back on the offensive side and has some rebuilding to do on the defensive front. Tackling-machine linebacker Carmen Messina is gone as are both corners. QB B.R. Holbrook has to establish himself as the leader from the start, and he has decent receivers to work with including TE Lucas Reed. The rushing combination of Demarcus Rogers and Crusoe Gongbay will be featured from the start.

118. Akron (1-11)

One of the nation's worst programs over the last few years under Rob Ianello, now it'll be up to Terry Bowden to try to change things around with QB Patrick Nicely leading a veteran offense that'll be more mature in the backfield. However, four starters are gone from the O line. The defense gets tackling machine linebacker Brian Wagner back, but both defensive tackles have to be replaced.

117. Memphis (2-10)

It's a new era for Memphis football after a few years of being among the worst programs in college football. New head coach Justin Fuente's first task is to improve as pass defense that finished dead last, allowing close to 300 yards per game, Three starters are back in the secondary, but they need help from a pass rush that was merely a rumor last year. Both starting defensive ends are gone, but the real killer is the loss of tackle Dontari Poe a year early to the NFL. Leading tackler Terrence Thomas is done, but the rest of the linebacking corps returns intact. The offense needs playmakers and has to settle on a quarterback after Taylor Reed took over and with Andy Summerlin in the mix. Leading rusher Billy Foster is done, as is top receiver Tannar Rehrer. Four starters return on the O line.

116. Tulane (2-11)

New head coach Curtis Johnson has a ton of work to do to improve one of the nation's worst scoring offenses and scoring defenses. Three starters are gone from a defensive line that wasn't bad at getting into the backfield, but seven starters are back including the entire linebacking corps and star tackler Trent Mackey. Corner Ryan Travis is a good ball-hawker to count on. Ryan Griffin is a good quarterback to work around and Orleans Darkwa is a terrific back, but the line loses three starters and the O needs to find a steady target for Griffin.

115. Buffalo (3-9)

The Bulls fell off the map defensively last year, but it should be a bit better with fight starters back including great-looking pass rusher Khalil Mack and active end Colby Way. The offense needs more consistency and punch, and it'll start with finding a new starting quarterback – likely Alex Zordich – to take over. RB Branden Oliver should have a huge year working behind a line that gets four starters back.

114. UAB (3-9)

New head coach Garrick McGee has to completely retool the offensive line that was so strong in pass protection, losing four starters. QB Jonathan Perry is back along with all the top skill players other than WR Nick Adams. Greg Franklin and Darrin Reaves should form a solid 1-2 rushing punch if the line can come together in a hurry. The defense was dead last in the nation in sacks and 119th in tackles for loss. All the ends return, but both starting defensive tackles are done along with MLB Lamanski Ware. All four starters are gone from a secondary that was among the worst in college football. Excellent punter Trey Ragland needs to be replaced.

113. UNLV (2-11)

Will things ever start to turn around for the Rebels? It's head coach Bobby Hauck's third year, and he needs to find an identity for an offense that didn't go anywhere and a D that couldn't stop anyone but Hawaii. The running game should be fine with Tim Cornett and Dionza Bradford good enough to work around. Finding a steady quarterback is a must between Sean Reilly and Caleb Herring, but the nation's 118th-ranked passing game will struggle even more with Michael Johnson and Phillip Payne done. Six starters are gone from a defense that finished 118th in points allowed.

112. Troy (3-9)

A major disappointment, the Trojans couldn't seen to do much of anything right but throw the ball. QB Corey Robinson will put up huge numbers with all his receivers returning, but he loses LT James Brown, his top pass protector. Nine starters are back on an offense that should lead the Sun Belt in yards, but can the defense stop someone for the first time in years? Losing pass rushing end Jonathan Massaquoi hurts a line that had a hard time getting into the backfield. Five starters are gone from a D that couldn't afford to lose too much experience.

111. ULM (4-8)

The league's best run defense loses two key starters – Ken Dorsey and Troy Evans – up front, and leading tackler Jason Edwards and top safety Darius Prelow are gone. Both corners – Nate Brown and Tim Taylor – have to be replaced, too. The offense needs to be more explosive, and that starts with more production up front with three starters back including sophomores-to-be Joseph Treadwell and Ben Risenhoover on the left side. QB Kolton Browning is a playmaker, and he has a good group to help with leading rusher Jyruss Edwards back along with top target Brent Leonard.

110. Middle Tennessee (2-10)

After a disastrous 2011, the Blue Raiders should be stronger with QB Jeff Murphy leading an offense that moved the ball, but didn't score. Benny Cunningham and William Pratcher will handle the running game behind a decent-looking line, while the passing attack gets three key targets back including leading receiver Tavarres Jefferson. The defense that was such a nightmare last season will be experienced up front with all four starters returning, but the linebackers have to be better even though Roderic Blunt is the only returning starter. The big problem is a secondary that loses all four starters.

109. New Mexico State (4-9)

The Aggies are slowly starting to improve under head coach DeWayne Walker, but it's going to be tough to break through with most of the star programs leaving the WAC. QB Travaugh Colwell has to prove he's ready, and he'll get a ton of help from Kenny Turner, a likely all-conference performer. Three starters are gone from the line as are targets Taveon Rogers and Todd Lee. The defense didn't make any major strides, and now it has to replace three starters up front and the entire secondary.

108. Idaho (2-10)

Can head coach Robb Ikey get the program back to bowl form after a disastrous 2011? The offense has to be far better in all phases, and it starts with QB Taylor Davis needing to grow into the job. Three starters are gone off a line that didn't do anything for the running game that needs former JUCO transfer Ryan Bass to produce. The defense that finished 101st in the nation has to replace six starters including leading tackler, MLB Tre'Shawn Robinson.

107. Eastern Michigan (6-6)

After the breakout/breakthrough 2011, head coach Ron English is hoping for even more from an offense that struggled to score but ran well. QB Alex Gillett is among the MAC's best dual-threat playmakers, and all the top backs return to work behind a line that gets back four starters. The defense loses two starters up front and both starting safeties.

106. Colorado State (3-9)

Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain has to jump-start an offense that finished 101st in the nation in scoring, but his bigger issue is a miserable defense. Getting more out of the defensive line is a must with three starters back and six starters returning to the back seven. QB Pete Thomas seemingly would've thriived under McElwain, but he's transferring, meaning the top returning receivers have to do more. Chris Nwoke is a good back to hand off to. However, three starters are gone up front.

105. North Texas (5-7)

Dan McCarney is one of the Sun Belt's better coaches, and he showed why by starting to revive the program last year. He'll have to go on without RB Lance Dunbar to work everything around, and little-used reserve Brandin Byrd has to prove he can handle the work. Derek Thompson is a big passer who should be better with a decent receiving corps returning. The defense made a little bit of improvement, and it should make great strides up front with six starters back in the front seven. However, all four starters are gone from the secondary.

104. Central Michigan (3-9)

The Dan Enos era isn't exactly rocking and rolling with two straight awful seasons. This might be the payoff with QB Ryan Radcliff leading a veteran attack that gets everyone back up front and returns most of the top targets. The defense might have been among the worst in the MAC, but the entire line returns and most of the secondary is back. Linebackers Mike Petrucci and Armond Staten will be missed.

103. Bowling Green (5-7)

Will Bowling Green actually have a strong defense for once? After starting a slew of underclassmen last year, and with ten starters returning, it can't be anything but stronger. The passing attack gets QB Matt Schilz back with two years of experience, but the top targets are gone. Four starters are back on a line that did a great job in pass protection.

102 Ball State (6-6)

First-year head coach Pete Lembo got no defense whatsoever and his team died down the stretch losing three of the last four, but six wins for Ball State is always a success. Four of the wins were bad, though, including the season opener against Indiana, but there was a quality win over Ohio. Winning close games is what it's all about, but for good and bad, five of the six victories came by a touchdown or less.

101 Miami University (4-9)

Can the RedHawks rebound back into 2010 form? The offense that couldn't run a lick has to find a back, and the line that was so awful has to be better with four starters returning. Zac Dysert is a talented quarterback, and he gets back top target Nick Harwell. The defense loses linebacker Jerrell Wedge, but eight starters return to a group that allowed just 364 yards per game.

2012 CFN First Look Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 24

- Follow us on Twitter ... ColFootballNews